Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Veto Session and House Budget

Today is the reconvened session of the General Assembly where the House and the Senate meet to take up bills that have vetoed by the Governor and bills where the Governor made recommendations to the bills. This year the VEA had no veto requests. That is huge change. Last year we asked that the Governor veto six different pieces of legislation. Elections matter! We were able to kill all the really bad bills during session. That made today's veto session anti-climactic, but we will take that!

While today feels like a victory, not having to ask for vetoes is not the war we are trying to win. It is a battle for sure, but we have work to do. We need not only stop the bad stuff, but pass the really important bills and secure the funding necessary to meet our school's needs. So we celebrate today, but we get back to work tomorrow.

Here's why we need to work. Yesterday the House of Delegates passed biennial budget that expands Medicaid and invests in our public schools. They did this during the Special Session that is also going on- yes, two kinds of session at one time, fun.  The Senate has yet to take action on a any budget during Special Session. They are going to start that work this afternoon when the Senate Fiance Committee meets. The rumor is that we won't have a budget until mid-May. Of course, if the Governor makes any changes to that budget, they General Assembly would have to come back to take up those changes. The state government is funded through June 30, so they have "time" until we would have shut down the state government. A shut down won't happen at the state level. We will have a budget by then , but we will have to see if the bodies can agree on Medicaid. If they do, our public schools would receive an additional $169 million, so this is a big deal.

Time will tell.